Wed. Aug. 26, 2020 – well, better get ready

Hot and humid.  Sweaty like a fat guy’s thighs.

I did move some stuff from the house to storage yesterday.  Not enough.  Not nearly enough.  I’ve got so much loose stuff laying around that I can only hope we don’t actually get high winds, or whale oil beef hooked.

Both of my auction contacts pushed me off on taking them loads of stuff.  Jeez.  I can’t get rid of this stuff.

I did spend some time in meatspace chatting with my buddy and his wife at the gu–  toy store.   He’s gonna consign a couple of things for me.  He’s still doing a brisk business in transfers, but what happens when ALL the inventory is gone and no one can buy anything that needs transferring, and there is no new inventory?  Other people have commented elsewhere that in the short and medium run, gu— toy stores are in economic trouble, despite high demand and prices.

There was a steady stream of people looking for ammo, and not finding it.  I’ll drop a small box by today if I get a chance to sweeten the deal on one of my items.

School is cancelled for today and tomorrow, with Friday still up in the air.  It all depends on Laura, and what she leaves in her wake here in Texas.  I’m hoping for a non-event.  Prepping for a big one, but hoping for small.

And I’m watching the insurgency spread.

At some point in the not too distance past, the move toward ‘officer safety’ started.  Cops began training to avoid going ‘hands on’ to prevent them from being injured*.  At the same time, someone decided that it didn’t look good for cops to be hitting The Usual Suspects(tm) with their fists or ESPECIALLY with sticks.   So someone made a change to policy, and the end state of that is cops are trained to shoot rather than grapple or fight.  Guns are stand off weapons.  Nightsticks, batons, etc, are close in weapons.  The cops can now keep their distance, but changes in doctrine let to changes in tactics.   Policy changes led to us being where we are today.  The same people that don’t want to see a cop with a stick hitting a suspect now cry out when the cop uses the tools and tactics he’s been trained to use, and shoots instead of strikes.  How’s that working out?  Ripples turning into waves….

Speaking of that, John Wilder throws out a number in his recent post, saying ” the dollar losing 7% of its value in three months”.   Without knowing where he got it, I was caught off guard because it was the first time I saw it put so starkly.   It’s what you’d expect when .gov makes the money printers go “brrrrrrr”.  It’s what you see when you’re paying more for everything, especially metals like gold and silver.  But upon reflection 7% seems way too small.  TP is almost double.  Gold went from $1500/oz to almost $2000.  Silver went from $17 to 26 (with higher spots in the last week).  Ammo and gun prices are sky high.  Granted that a lot of the increase in consumer goods pricing is due to scarcity, the metal pricing is more purely inflation for monetary reasons.  Either way, it looks like the dollar is buying a LOT LESS than 93% of what it did in March or June.  Taking a step back, that ripple looks like it could be a really big wave if it gets going.   Ask yourself why it isn’t front page news.  And why no one is framing that decline in purchasing power in terms of inflation.  Venezuela here we come.  Everyone will be shocked when they realize we’re suddenly there “without warning”.  Consider this (and the last couple of years) your fair warning. **

Everything’s better with bacon.  And butter.  And a full pantry.  Keep stacking.



* also about the same time, physical fitness standards were relaxed, and the recruiting pool was broadened.  A whole lot of cops were produced that couldn’t go hands on if they wanted to.

**I’m no financial guru and nothing I say is “financial advice” but I’m certainly taking a hard look at what my condition would be if all my cash and cash equivalents bought me half as much stuff, or one quarter as much, next year.   It might be a good idea to turn some of that cash into something that holds value a bit better, especially if there are bargains to be had.  Assuming I had any cash tucked away…


Sunday, 13 November 2016

09:39 – I see that Trump has some hesitation about living in the White House as President, and who could blame him? Just because he’s been elected President doesn’t mean he and his family should have to take such a big step down in living accommodations. There’d be some other advantages to him living in his NYC penthouse, including the fact that he’d be far away from DC. He could, of course, use the White House for ceremonial events like withdrawing the US from so-called climate-change accords.

Anti-Trump rioting continued for a fourth night, although the MSM, including FoxNews, describes it as “protests”. I hope that local authorities understand that with Obama and his justice department on the way out, their hands are no longer tied when dealing with rioters. Peaceful protests are fine, and in fact should be encouraged. But when protesters cross the line by blocking streets, assaulting cops and civilians, and burning things down, they are no longer protesters. They are rioters, and should be met with lethal force.

I expect things to get worse before they get better, if they ever do. I have a sneaking suspicion that the prog establishment is secretly happy that Trump was elected. That way, when things get worse, they can blame everything on Trump. And things are going to get worse. Decades of prog rule have literally bankrupted the country, and the crash, when it comes, is not going to be pretty.

We’re about as well-prepared here as we can be, although we continue to make minor adds and tweaks as I think of weaknesses that need to be shored up. As always, I want to make sure that we have water, food, heating/cooking, power and communications, sanitation, medical, and defense needs covered. We’re actually in pretty good shape now on most of those. I do plan to put in another Walmart order for bulk staples and some miscellaneous stuff, but that’ll be it for LTS food for at least a while.

For future reference: A 2-liter soft drink bottle holds 3 pounds 14 ounces of pinto beans, which are free-flowing through a suitable funnel into the 2-liter bottle mouth.

Sunday, 6 November 2016

08:46 – With only two days until the election, a lot of people are on-edge. I clearly remember every presidential election for the last 56 years, and with the possible exception of 1968, this one has the most potential for violent civil unrest. No matter which candidate “wins”, there are going to be tens of millions of people who won’t accept the result. If I had to guess, I think there’ll be scattered outbreaks of violence if Trump is declared the winner, but those scattered outbreaks could easily coalesce into nationwide looting and burning in the cities. Kind of like 1968, but much more extreme and wider-spread. If Clinton is declared winner, the likelihood of immediate violence is much lower, but the built-up resentment of us Normals isn’t going away. It’s like bringing a pot to a boil with no means of pressure release. When it blows, it’s going to be epic, and it is going to blow. Maybe not next week, next month, or even next year, but it’s impossible to avoid in the longer term. Normals, who are mostly WASPs, are very slow to anger and slower still to take extreme measures, but that patience has its limits. And those limits are very close to being exceeded, if they haven’t already.

Barbara and I are just going to settle in, watch the news, and see what happens Tuesday evening and the rest of the week. It’s extremely unlikely that there’ll be any real problems up here in the mountains, at least short-term, but events in the cities will tell the tale.

11:41 – For future reference: We had a #10 can of Augason Farms Potato Shreds that was down to only 125 grams (~ 4 servings) left, so I transferred the remaining food to a ziplock bag, tapped the can to clean it, and refilled it with Walmart Great Value macaroni from a 5-pound bag. The can holds 3 pounds, 14 ounces when filled very near the rim. I wanted to see what would happen if I added an oxygen absorber to the can and replaced the original snap-on plastic cap. My guess is that as the oxygen absorber works and creates a partial vacuum in the can the plastic lid will pop and lose its seal, but we’ll see. There’s no indication on the lid what plastic it’s made of, so it may be quite permeable to air.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

09:00 – Barbara is due back from Winston sometime this afternoon. Colin and I can’t wait. She’s making a small Costco run on her way back to pick up mostly cold stuff like meat. The only LTS food I asked her to pick up was several 3.25-pound boxes of OreIda instant mashed potatoes. Yesterday I transferred what remained of the 3.25-pound box we’d just opened to 1.75-liter Tropicana orange juice bottles, ending up with one very full bottle and one very partial bottle.

For the last couple of months I’ve been expecting Trump to make a statement on healthcare. Something like:

If you like your Obamacare, you can keep your Obamacare. However, we will repeal the individual mandate and the employer mandate, so no one will be forced to pay for health insurance they don’t want. Nor will the federal government pay any portion of the cost, so whatever coverage you choose you must pay for out of your own pocket. Nor will the government force any insurer to cover any particular person or condition or to provide any particular benefit, which means coverage for those with pre-existing conditions, if available, will be extremely expensive.

It’s definitely autumn here. Cool days and nights down in the 30’s (~ 2 or 3C). We decided yesterday that the new driveway had had sufficient time to cure, so we removed the orange warning tape that had been blocking the drive and pulled the vehicles back into the garage. As I was standing out at the street end of the drive looking toward the house, it looked vaguely familiar. Then I realized that it was about the size of a standard singles tennis court, which I spent plenty of time on when I was in my teens and 20’s. A standard singles court is 27 feet wide by 78 feet long, with 21 feet between the baseline and the fence at each end, for a total of 120 feet. I got out the tape measure and measured the new drive. Sure enough, it was 25 feet wide and about 126 feet long. Now the only thing we need is fences and a net.

Being a serve-and-volley player with an overwhelming serve, I always loved fast surfaces. My absolute favorite surface was polished hardwood, because the speed and low bounce of the surface meant I served clean aces more often than not. My next favorite was grass, which was almost but not quite as fast as wood, and didn’t provide a much higher bounce than wood. My third favorite was concrete like we just had installed. It was a noticeably slower surface than wood or grass, but still much faster than Har-Tru or similar grippy hard court (green/blue/red) surfaces, and immensely faster than clay. And it had a very high bounce, usually higher than the net, which meant I could use a full Western grip off both sides and hit full-power flat ground strokes, and approach shots didn’t need to be chipped.

For future reference:

o A 1.75 liter Tropicana orange juice bottle holds at most 1 pound 15.4 ounces of Ore-Ida instant potato flakes if you tap it well to pack it down.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

09:32 – Barbara is leaving mid-afternoon to head down to Winston. She’s staying at her sister’s house tonight and heading home tomorrow afternoon after running errands. It’ll be wild women and parties for Colin and me. Or it would be, except that Lori, our USPS carrier and fellow prepper, keeps an eye on us when Barbara’s away.

One of Barbara’s friends from the historical society volunteers is just in the process of moving to Sparta from New Jersey. Her husband’s family is originally from Sparta, and she and her husband have actually owned a home here for years. She’s semi-retired from teaching and her husband is retiring, so they decided to relocate here. They have a son, aged 15, and a college-age daughter. They’re doing the same back-and-forth that Barbara and I did, trying to get the Sparta house ready to move into and their house in New Jersey ready to sell. The difference is that instead of it being 60 miles between their old house and the new one, as it was for Barbara and me, it’s almost ten times that far to New Jersey. Right now, she’s living here, camping out in one room, while her husband is living in New Jersey, taking care of stuff there.

She dropped by our house yesterday and visited for an hour or two. Barbara of course gave her a tour of the house. After she’d left, I asked Barbara if she’d showed her our food storage areas downstairs. She had, and of course Barbara got the usual comment about how if things turned bad they’d show up at our door. Barbara said she’d also said that her husband wanted to build their food storage and so on, so it sounds as though we’ll be getting to know another family of preppers. The husband and son are also shooters, and the son is excited about getting started hunting down here.

For future reference:

o A 3-liter soft drink bottle can hold 5 pounds plus an ounce or two of white flour if you tap it well to pack it down.

o A 1.75 liter Tropicana orange juice bottle can hold 3 pounds plus an ounce or two of corn meal if you tap it well to pack it down.